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CTA, Bus Employees Union Finds A New Home For Ex-Rail Car Apprentices

By Chuck Sudo in News on Jan 2, 2014 4:05PM

Photo credit: Terry Spirek

The Chicago Transit Authority announced Thursday they managed to save the jobs of rail car apprentices who did overnight spot cleanings of trains by negotiating an agreement to make them bus apprentices instead.

The deal with Amalgamated Transit Union Local 241 saves 65 jobs slated for termination Dec. 31 after CTA and Amalgamated Transit Union Local 308, the union representing the agency’s rail workers, announced the apprentice program that gave ex-offenders jobs would end. ATU Local 308 president Robert Kelly said it was CTA’s decision to end the program while CTA countered that Kelly had been pushing to end the program for years. The Inner City Youth and Adult Foundation (ICYAF) also blamed Kelly for the end of the program. The rail car apprentice program employed 325 ex-offenders in the last five years.

CTA President Forrest Claypool said the deal with Local 241 “guarantee(s) (workers) the opportunity to work and put food on their families’ tables for another year.”

“While this program provides benefits to our transit customers, it also provides a great benefit to our society. By getting ex-offenders into the workforce, the CTA is able to help Chicagoans increase self-sufficiency and reduce recidivism,” Claypool added.